Merkel urges Germans to stay 'open-minded'

November 14, 2016 1:52 PM EST

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gives a statement on the nomination of German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier as candidate for German President in Berlin, Germany, November 14, 2016. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt


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BERLIN (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday urged Germans to stand up for an "open-minded" country, warning that the U.S. election victory of Donald Trump could inflame Germany's refugee debate.

Trump has denounced as "insane" Merkel's decision to allow more than a million migrants into Germany and claimed it had increased crime.

"We all are called upon now to put our cards on the table and nail our colors to the mast for an open-minded Germany," Merkel told reporters when asked about the impact of Trump's election victory on the migration debate in Germany.

"The dignity of every human being is inviolable - regardless of religion, origin, sexual orientation and other characteristics, for example gender," Merkel said.

"This is what guides us. This is what we also stand up for."

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel has called Trump "the pioneer of a new authoritarian and chauvinist international movement".

Merkel is widely expected to stand for a fourth term in an election next September and although her conservatives are roughly 10 points ahead of their nearest rivals, her open-door migrant policy has angered many voters.

The right-wing Alternative for Germany, which has embraced tough anti-immigrant rhetoric, is drawing support away from the bigger traditional parties.

(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; editing by Andrew Roche)



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